Saturday, September 05, 2009


At this time of year, I love the rain - the sound of it, and particularly the smell of it. It washes away the accumulated dust of summer and refreshes. It sends me back indoors to cups of steaming tea and good books and soft throw blankets and quiet music and family board games. It feels rich and lush on my skin, and on the dry grass.

But it also feels appropriately gray. I never met Lisa in person, but I am grieving.

I am struggling with my own medical situation, too. Next week I need to decide, with the help of my surgeon, whether to undergo surgery again. I am struggling with the idea that I might have cancer again. I am not sleeping well; I have a hard time falling asleep and then I wake up in the middle of the night and lie there, restless and slightly scared. My sleep is fitful. What is my life bringing me next? Am I strong enough to handle another hit? How can I protect my family from the pain that comes with such a hit? How can I stop from going insane in the process?

I am still praying that it is nothing, of course. But part of the struggle is accepting that this is my path for the rest of my life: there will be tests, and there will be fear, and there will be waiting. Never again will I be normal, never again will I be innocent. My knowledge carries a heavy

Praying that it is nothing.

And trying to live my life fully, and not just crawl into bed for the next week.

I remain very focused on my efforts to cook sustainable, local, seasonal, healthy food. We eat tomatoes with every meal right now; last night I brought bruschetta to my girls' night in potluck with friends; today, I'll make that again or maybe switch up to insalate caprese. Katie gave me more plums, and I'm in the middle of making jam - "real" jam, not the freezer variety - for the first time. (Thanks to Kathleen for giving me her canning stuff.) If it wasn't raining today I'd hoped to pick blackberries for more jam.

Yesterday Tessa and I went downtown with friends to SAM and the water taxi and the Pike Place donut shop (I didn't eat any donuts - yay me).

Today we're having some friends over for an end of summer BBQ....indoors, apparently, because of the rain.

Next week, Tessa begins school. We've got her school supplies (with horse pictures on them) and her backpack (with a horse on it) and her new clothes (mostly with horse motifs).

I'm moving my herbs out of pots and into the ground, so that they will be in the front of the house and have a chance to grow more.

It takes effort to do these fun things, or these chores, because there is a big part of me that wants to curl up in a ball and cry "I'm so scared, I'm so scared."

On Thursday I hope to have the surgery/no surgery decision. Most of all, I hope to find peace.

I'm glad there is church tomorrow.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


I have mentioned before that someone I "know" on the YSC was dying, and that I struggle with that.

Today, Lisa died.

She was a mentor, a bright light, a wise voice in the darkness. I miss her already.

Sbe shared this song as a favorite, and it speaks to how I'm feeling now.
Jane Siberry - Calling All Angels lyrics
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A man is placed upon the steps,
a baby cries
And high above him
you hear the church bells start to ring.
The heaviness, the heaviness of it settles in,
A mother starts to sing.
Then it's one foot then the other
as you step along the road
Steppin' on the road,
how much weight,
how much weight?
And it's how long
and how far and how many times,
Oh, before it's too late?
Calling all angels,
Calling all angels.
Walk me through this one,
don't leave me alone.
Calling all angels,
Calling all angels.
We're trying,
we're hoping,
but we're not sure how...
Oh and every day you gaze upon the sunset
With such love and intensity.
Why it's almost as if, if you could only crack the code
You'd finally understand what this all means.
Oh but if you could, do you think you would
Have traded all the pain and suffering?
Oh, but then you would've missed the beauty of the light upon this earth
And the sweetness of the leaving.
Calling all angels,
Calling all angels!
Walk me through this one,
don't leave me alone
Calling all angels,
calling all angels,
We're trying, we're hoping
but we're not sure...
Calling all angels (call all angels)
Calling all angels (call all angels)
Walk me through this one
Don't leave me alone.
Calling all angels,
Calling all angels
We're trying,
we're hoping,
we're hurting,
we're loving
We're crying,
we're calling,
But we're not sure how this goes."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

SIGG bottles and BPA

Check this out:

I chose SIGG bottles specifically because I did not believe that they had BPA (a chemical used in some plastic bottles, and can linings, which is a known carcinogen found in high concentration in breast cancer tumors, among other things). Well, this month it has come to light that until August 2008, SIGG liners did indeed contain trace amounts of BPA. Since that time, they have changed, and newer SIGG bottles do not have BPA.

I am pleased that the company has corrected their policy, and that they are offering free bottles as replacements to existing customers. I'm gathering up my bottles and sending them in, and encourage you to do the same. Their website has shipping labels and information about returns, including how to tell if your bottle is the old style with BPA or the new, BPA style. (Hint: if you have a bronze interior on your bottle, it's the old style; if it's a matte finish yellow interior, it's the new style. But check out their website to learn more.)

I'm disappointed that it took a year for SIGG to advertise this information; I have used my Buddha bottle for well over a year, and I probably drank on average two full containers from it each day as my primary source for water. I'd given SIGG bottles as gifts, too, and I've talked up the company on here on my blog as a green alternative to plastic or one use bottles. Still, I am glad that the information is public now, and that the company is willing to take a loss to do what is right to correct the situation by replacing older bottles. The cost of shipping the bottles back is well worth it to me.

Since I left my Buddha bottle at the zoo last week, I need to get it back before I send mine in. I'll update on my response from SIGG after I've sent mine in and (hopefully) received replacements.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Catching up

I haven't been online as much lately - not really sure why, just not in the mood.

We had a fabulous time at Cannon Beach. Sand castles, coffee, kites, run on the beach (me), bike rides (Ryan), and just those simple pleasures. We love the Surf Sand hotel that we go to.

And, treat of treats - we got to see the Shogrens! We ran into our old friends, and had some wonderful time together.

Now we're home, and doing small things...a BBQ with neighbors (fun), church (nice to be back), Farmer's Market, little house projects. We're eating a lot from our garden - today we harvested a nice basket of pears, and every day we're harvesting tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes by the hundreds. (Matt's Wild Cherry is VERY prolific, for those who want to know.) Tonight I made pasta (fresh from the market) with zuchinni and crookneck (from Sarah's garden and ours, respectively), tomatoes (garden), basil (market), chantrelles (market), goat and parmesan cheese (TJs) with just a little garlilc, salt, and olive oil. Okay, a dab of butter too, I'll confess. Anyway, it was delicious, and tasted so amazingly fresh - not surprising, given that most of it had been picked that day.

On a more substantive note...
I am still struggling with medical issues. I spoke to my oncologist about my recent test results, and she told me (as I thought) that an FNA (fine needle aspiration) biopsy is not 100% definitive. My lymph nodes are still large, and we don't know why. I am not happy about the wait and see process if there might be cancer growing inside me - either lymphoma or breast cancer could do this. I have an appointment on September 10 to meet with my breast surgeon to discuss options. If she thinks it is advisable to wait, I will wait. If she thinks that I should have surgery to have the entire nodes (one at my sternum, resting on my lung, in the center of my chest; the other two deep in my armpit) removed/biopsied, I will do that. It would be a serious surgery, more scarring, more recovery. It goes without saying, I hope, that I dread the idea, and that I don't want to go under the knife again. Still, I will go with her recommendation because my onc and I are both on the fence about whether it's a good idea.

What a roller coaster. It makes my back tight just thinking about it.

Still, we are enjoying summer's lazy days. Yesterday Katie delivered a basket of plums, and I made two plum cakes for a BBQ, and gave her a basket of tomatoes in return. There is much to be grateful for.